So you've taken over a new team, operation, or enterprise and executed your 90 day plan with excellence. You've assessed your people, processes, and product(s), identified your quick wins, reshuffled priorities, and achieved alignment and buy-in from all key stakeholders. You've been extremely busy and productive. Still, as you sit back and mull over your progress thus far, one question keeps nagging you - is any of this making a difference to performance?
In a way, the process of driving for results is very similar to achieving fitness goals. You have been hitting the gym, getting your sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating well - but for a while, at least, the scale is not cooperating. The temptation is to change up your routine, take things up a notch, or maybe quit all together - but you have to work to ignore this impatience at all costs.
The truth is that change and performance are the incremental outcomes of daily discipline and diligence.
That's not to say that some calibration and tinkering won't be required to achieve the desired result, but adding wholesale change after wholesale change with little consistency will never lead you to the promised land of breakout performance. The amazing thing is that intuitively we know this but it can be exceptionally difficult to stick to your guns as a leader sometimes.Whether it's pressure from the external environment, your boss, or subordinates, you have to learn to fight the immense inertia to shift away from a winning strategy simply because the desired outcome is not happening fast enough.
Increasingly, we live in a world of instant gratification - we want what we want and we want it NOW!
Unfortunately, results are very stubborn to achieve and remain elusive to those leaders who cannot control their anxiety and impatience. Remember, that everyone is looking up to you and if you are anxious and impatient imagine how your people feel.
With that, here are three keys to keep the needle constantly moving in the right direction for your business.
Confront the brutal facts - In order to avoid the monster around the corner, you first must be willing to admit he is there. When building plans and strategies it is essential that you as the leader address the ugly truths that can derail you and your team's progress. Hope is not a strategy and will not magically make inconvenient barriers move out of your path. You have to build a culture of contingency planning into the fabric of your business DNA and regularly assess your facts and assumptions related to where you want to go and what you are striving to achieve. This also helps embed the virtue of agility throughout your organization.
Focus on what you can control - Danger is real but fear is a choice. Stephen Covey's wisdom from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people is genius in its simplicity but much harder to execute in practice. By acting on your sphere of control and not giving air time to areas out of your control, you keep everyone clear and focused on the goal ahead. Examples of important and actionable "controllables" include employee engagement, prioritization, and measurement of execution. By being clear and consistent you can quiet the rumor mill and keep your people working on what matters.
Inspect what you expect - Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. So if you force yourself to see the situation for what is and enable a proactive attitude toward shifting your circumstances day by day, the last element is to ask yourself the question, where am I winning and losing? To do this effectively, you must ensure regular inspection of the right lead measures - a concept that should resonate for anyone who's seen the famous Franklin-Covey video on execution. If you want to lose weight, you need to measure calories ingested and calories burned. So take the time to ensure that what you are measuring actually acts as a proxy against what you want to achieve.
What do you think about these three keys to constantly moving the needle in your organization's - let me know in the comments or if you agree, give the article a thumbs up!
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